Nutrition is an important part of your lifestyle, your diet can contribute greatly not only to general health but to your fertility and ability to conceive. For women, egg health, in particular, gets a boost when we eat the right things. Ovaries and the egg cells they produce respond to nutrients and other chemicals in food, so watching what you eat can support healthy ovulation and give you your best chance of getting pregnant. If you’re trying to conceive, go ahead and begin incorporating these diet tips into your daily meals:
Diet and Fertility: Dairy Diet
We all know that it’s a good idea to maintain a healthy weight when trying to get pregnant. But if you’re cutting back on fat by drinking skim milk or eating fat-free ice cream, you may be doing more harm than good. Science says you should be having at least some dairy with the fat left in.
It turns out that women who have just one serving of whole fat dairy a day have a 27% lower risk of ovulatory infertility than women who drink one serving or less of whole fat dairy per week. Meanwhile, women who have two or more servings of low-fat dairy a day are 85% more likely to have infertility due to ovulation problems than those who have one or fewer servings of low-fat dairy each week.
Diet and Fertility:A Good Source Of Iron
Iron is a very important mineral during pregnancy. A developing child will draw a lot of iron from the mother. If she doesn’t have enough iron in her system to begin with, she may become anemic. But iron is also important even before you get pregnant, as studies link iron levels to ovulation and fertility.
Every woman trying to get pregnant needs iron, and most get enough of it from their diet. Eating foods like lean beef and pork, dark poultry, salmon, and eggs give you easily digestible heme iron. Fruits and vegetables like raisins, figs, and kale can provide non-heme iron, which is harder to digest but still important. Heme iron and vitamin C can help you absorb non-heme iron better, so consider food pairings to optimize your iron intake.
If you don’t get enough iron from your diet, your doctor may recommend an iron supplement. Studies show that women taking iron supplements are 40% less likely to experience ovulatory infertility, while women taking the highest doses lower their risk by as much as 62%. Until there is more research, though, doctors don’t recommend supplements for every woman trying to get pregnant.
Diet and Fertility: Carbs Are Good If They’re Complex
We’ve all heard that carbohydrates can affect how your body stores fat and burn energy. But what effects do carbs have on your fertility? New research suggests an interesting answer.
The amount of carbohydrates you eat doesn’t seem to affect ovulation or egg health, but the type of carbs certainly does. A study that tracked the carbs women eat showed that those who ate more complex carbs decreased their risk of ovulatory infertility by up to 92% compared to those who ate more simple carbs, like sugary drinks and white bread.
So, you can cut down on the carbs if you want as part of an otherwise healthy diet, but you should also consider replacing whatever carbs you do eat with healthier complex carbohydrates like whole grain bread and brown rice.
These foods are just some ways to naturally improve your fertility. However, it’s always worth discussing specific nutritional needs with a doctor, particularly if you are living with a pre-existing condition that requires specific dietary adjustments.